We are open to FTAs as long as it is a fair deal to us, PM tells industry players

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia is open to all free trade agreements (FTAs) as long as it is fair and benefits the nation, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin told industry players.

At a closed-door meeting with major industry players from the private sector at the International Trade and Industry Ministry headquarters on Thursday (April 15), Muhyiddin said that the private sector need not worry when the government decides to ratify certain FTAs.

“Perhaps I should also address the elephant in the room, and that is where do we stand on the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

“I must stress that Malaysia will always remain open to the idea of deepening economic integration through FTAs.

“The CPTPP is a high- quality, high-standard agreement and we will in due course determine a pragmatic way forward for this FTA.

“I am also pleased to note that Miti is already exploring some options on this front, including possible ideas to facilitate our ratification of the CPTPP.

“As an open economy that is heavily reliant on trade, Malaysia will continue to be a strong supporter of the rules-based multilateral trading system.

“In addition, we will continue to engage constructively in regional economic integration initiatives, including through an active pursuit of FTAs, which bring tangible benefits to Malaysia, ” said Muhyiddin.

He said this was why Malaysia signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (RCEP), which grants preferential access to a market worth 29% of the global GDP.

The Prime Minister also said that targeted stakeholder consultations are ongoing to ensure that all the relevant parties understand Malaysia’s rights and obligations under this agreement.

Muhyiddin further explained that it is important to pursue and adopt robust trade and investment policies to attract investors.

“Let us march forward together, for we may be bruised now, but we will come out of this crisis more resilient, more resolute and more resolved, ” said Muhyiddin.

The meeting attended by more than 50 industry players from all sectors was organised by Senior Minister and International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Azmin Ali.

Mohd Azmin and his deputy Datuk Lim Ban Hong were also present during the closed-door meeting.

Malaysia, which inked RCEP last year, is expected to ratify the FTA in 2022.

CPTPP has been signed by Malaysia but Azmin was reported last March as saying that the government will not rush into ratifying it until it is convinced Malaysia will get a fair deal.

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